Studiofest in Phoenicia helps up-and-coming filmmakers

Even in this digital age, independent filmmaking is a costly undertaking. Many talented newcomers manage to get their short films shown at festivals, but that’s no guarantee of finding the distributors or backers needed to produce a first full-length feature. Consequently, many a promising career stalls out at that stage. Filmmakers Charles Beale and Jess Jacklin decided to do something about that disconnect by organizing a film festival whose winner is guaranteed a financial backer enabling him or her to leap that hurdle. It’s called Studiofest, and its first-ever crop of entries will be unveiled this weekend in Phoenicia.

Five short-form filmmakers and five feature-length scriptwriters have been selected to compete, with free room and board and a travel stipend. They’ll spend the weekend with a group of industry pros, including judges Jamie Donnelly, Stephen H. Foreman, Andrew Wonder, Shruty Ganguly. Becky Burkhard and Liz Nord, getting feedback on their work. On Sunday, one filmmaker and one screenwriter will be given the opportunity to partner with Studiofest to create a debut feature film, with a $30,000-to-$50,000 budget.

On Saturday, September 22, the finalists’ script-readings (11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and short-film screenings (2:30 to 5 p.m.) will be open to the public; your $20 ticket gets you admitted to both. The public part of the festival goes down at the Phoenicia Playhouse Community Theatre, located at 10 Church Street in Phoenicia. An exclusive Filmmakers’ Soiree at the Graham & Co., with dinner supplied by Blue Mountain Bistro, runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a few $125 tickets still available as of presstime. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit


Studiofest in Phoenicia
Saturday, Sept. 22
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. readings
2:30-5 p.m. screenings
Phoenicia Playhouse Community Theatre
10 Church Street, Phoenicia